JetBlue has taken the next step in rolling out their new premium transcon offering, introducing the Mint experience at an event this week in their New York City headquarters. Mint is, according to CEO David Barger, "[N]ot a class of service or a cabin; it is the whole experience." And with the introduction of the menu and amenity kit concepts the airline has started to make clear just how that experience will play out.
As they settle in to their seats passengers will be treated to a pre-flight beverage, something common in premium cabin service but thus far unseen on JetBlue flights. The airline has worked with New York's Saxon + Parole to establish a tapas-style menu for passengers. There will be both hot and cold options and everyone can choose which of the 5 options they want to dine on to create a custom meal as part of the trip. How is the food? Well, Barger certainly thinks it is going to be different enough that passengers will notice, "This isn't airline food. And you've heard that in the past. But this is about comfort food. This is about tapas-style. This is about when you want to eat and doing it differently in the morning, mid-day, and evening as well." The menu is expected to cycle quarterly, keeping the options fresh throughout the year.
Passengers will also receive an amenity kit—produced in partnership with Birchbox—during the flight. The kit will include some items which can be used in-flight and others which are intended to be used after the trip, introducing passengers to beauty, grooming, and lifestyle samples from various brands. The kit contents will change on a regular basis, similar to the menu, to keep the offering fresh.
And then there is the price point, also introduced this week. JetBlue had been teasing the market by saying customers shouldn't expect too many commas in the price. They delivered on that tease, with refundable/walk-up fares selling at $999 and advance-purchase/non-refundable tickets at $599 (and a $499 intro sale, too). Those are prices the company hopes will be sufficient to induce outright purchases rather than requiring corporate discount programs or upgrade plans to fill the cabin.
Barger sums up the product quite succinctly, "What we've created is the right product for the right customer in the right markets and at a simply great price." Service begins on June 15, 2014.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Seth Miller